I read today that an editor for the blog LAist, Tony Pierce, accepted a position running about 25 blogs over at the LA Times. I thought it was interesting to see such a huge paper, with such a mixed record in the online world, making a blogger an important part of the paper's team.  There's some pretty extensive coverage about this on Friday's edition of LAist, but I thought I'd pull out a couple interesting points from an interview with Tony Pierce.

Zach: Day one, what would you like to start doing?
: On day one I would like to throw out a bunch of ideas to my new boss and find out which ones she likes and which ones she thinks are lame. And then I would like to do the cool ones that we agree on. But I'm not insane, the Times is an old, established, successful organization. Things don't change as quickly as you guys probably think. LAist was a different beast. One Monday last year Jake said he wanted Food every day. Two weeks later we had food every day. I'm pretty sure a huge organization like the LAT works a tad slower.

Andy: You've been successful as the lead editor of a group blog — LAist. How will you motivate / approach the Times people to absorb your inspiration and ideas and go with it, considering the general resistance to change within age-old publications?
: That is the big question. Can someone from outside of journalism inspire real pros? And can the MSM break through in the blogosphere. Currently there's not one newspaper blog in the Technorati Top 100, which is a challenge that I'm more than happy to take on.

Andy: Are there any news sites that particularly impress you as far as their approach to blogging and attracting UGC?
: The Houston Chronicle has led the way for newspaper blogging and user generated content. And I really like the NYT's City Desk blog – City Room. But the entire industry has only just started to really wake up because they had resisted the whole thing for so long. Rightfully. And now that they know that digital is the way to go, it's right for them to get it together. But as that Elvis record sorta said: 100 million blogs can't be wrong.

Andy: Will you be restricted by any Times policy from what you can write about (aside from the obvious)?
: Probably. I'm joining a huge corporation. Something that I am used to. I've worked for huge places before. And even being editor of LAist I toned down what topics I wrote about on my personal blog, so i have no problems with that. Since 8/11/01 when I started blogging, I've written about 7,500 posts. I've had plenty of time to rock the mic. Now I'd like to help others reach the blogosphere, because it's a great audience.

Andy: Do you have any plans to create blogs of general — not just localized — interest? For example, NYT has things like an Open Code blog, WSJ has All Things D ….
: The one thing that blew my mind while I met with the Times is that they really are open to many many ideas. One of the things that we were very successful at on LAist were expanding our coverage to things outside of LA. That pissed off some readers but sometimes you just have to shrug and say **** the haters. So yes I hope the Times continues to think outside the box and continues to trust new perspectives, because now they are on a huge playing field – the web – that has a lot of wide and varied competitors who aren't restricted to certain boundaries or rules or pasts to live up to. So to compete with them you really have to play a slightly different game to a point. But the Times has had no problems going outside of LA for a lot of their best stories They are a leader in International news, therefore they should continue to learn from that success in regards to blogging about things outside of LA. Believe it or not I think that will be easier to do at the Times than at LAist.

Andy: What about hyperlocal?
: Likewise they can do hyperlocal better than even the LAist because they have a full time staff of people who are used to covering the metro beat and they know who to talk to, how to get there, and how to get it written in a professional manner. At LAist I couldn't get anyone to go to that lameass Hollywood Santa parade even though a few of us live a few blocks away. So there are pluses and minuses to an all volunteer blog staff, and that night was definitely a minus.

I'll be interested to see how Tony's transition to MSM goes.  What kind of effect will he have on the LA Times?  And conversely, what kind of effect with the LA Times and MSM have on Tony Pierce?